The trip we were all waiting for when PHAU, WoMena and Women’s Global Health Innovations would be able to distribute the new antibacterial menstrual cups- Bfree cups in Adjumani schools. We first visited these schools in the second half of 2018, after receiving funding from UNFPA to implement a menstrual cup project. We met with district leaders and school management to introduce the project. Several teachers were trained as menstrual cup champions.
Since then, the 2 schools have been excitedly waiting to receive their cups. Leisa Hirtz, from Women’s Global Health Innovations arrived from Canada with the Bfree cups, and along with WoMena, PHAU and WGHI travelled up to conduct sensitizations in the two schools.
We first reached the settlement school of Alele SS on the 18 th of October for the training. The students are majority refugees from South Sudan and many have missed out on years of education due to the war but are now back in school. At Alele we trained a total of 174 students, including 99 girls who received menstrual cups and 74 boys who were given dental hygiene products. In Dzaipi SS on the 19 th of October we trained a total of 251 students and distributed to Bfree cups to 79 girls and dental hygiene products to 172 boys. The students were taught about puberty, the menstrual cycle, reproductive system, addressing myths and facts around menstruation, and different hygiene products and how to use them.
The Bfree menstrual cup is being introduced because it has many advantages compared to other menstrual hygiene products.
- It lasts for 10 years meaning that it is cost-saving (when you consider that pads cost more than 2000 shillings per pack)
- It is comfortable and doesn’t leak (after you get the hang of inserting it!)
- It is safe and contains no chemicals or perfumes like sanitary pads
- It requires little water (only a little water to rinse the cup after insertion)
- The Bfree cup does not require boiling/disinfecting like other cups (its silicone gel surface repels microbes meaning that girls can simply rinse their cups in water between usage or wipe with a tissue to make it easy to reinsert)
- Cups do not contribute any waste to the environment unlike disposable sanitary pads which clog up the latrines and take years to degrade
With the support of their teachers, we hope the students will have gained courage to try their cups by the time we follow-up to assess uptake and acceptance of the products.